While all sorts of barbs have been traded already in the Bellator featherweight grand prix, don’t expect bad behavior between A.J. McKee and Derek Campos.
Los Angeles, CA — One of the most promising bouts of the Bellator featherweight grand prix’s second round is A.J. McKee vs. Derek Campos. It’s a fight that was set after McKee pulled off an 8-second knockout of Georgi Karakhanyan at Bellator 228 on Saturday. Followed by Campos picking McKee as his second round opponent.
McKee, who chose first in the lottery-based selection process, had picked the December date. Both he and Campos were on hand at the post-fight press conference, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press.
McKee, reflecting on his lightning-quick knockout of Karakhanyan, said that “honestly before the fight I said I wanted to go get Bellator’s fastest knockout. I think everyone was just so awed at the moment, how quick it was, that sh*t honestly I was kind of surprised. But I knew I was capable of it, so why not?”
Asked if his father Antonio, winning earlier in the night on the preliminary card, had inspired him, McKee answered “definitely. It was phenomenal. Him going in there and doing what he did, it set the tone right for me. I knew I had a job to do. I’ve constantly said it, go in there and you win, set the night off, and I finished with a bang.”
McKee corned his father in that fight, so he was close to the action, later joking that the footage would need a lot of bleeping.
As for Campos, who was a spectator Saturday, he gave his thoughts in McKee’s big win.
“It was impressive. Unfortunately for Georgi, he just got caught, it can happen to anybody on any given night. But it was definitely impressive,” said Campos, who then congratulated McKee.
As to why he chose McKee as his opponent, Campos explained that “Me and A.J. have talked before, we were on the same card last December in Hawaii. I mean he’s just a cool guy, I know he’s going to bring it. We’re going to put on a show.”
McKee gave some further background, adding “it was funny, we were both in Hawaii, he was super respectful, honestly he was just like ‘man I think you’re one of the best, I’d love to fight with you one day.’ He said it would be an honor. I was like ‘hey let’s do it one day.’ Here we are a year later, he got what he wanted.”
“It worked out” added Campos.
In regards to being snubbed by champ Patricio Pitbull, who had his choice of opponent in the second round of the grand prix, McKee said that “I think it was a smart move on his side. He had a war tonight. He had a good fight. Juan touched him up a little. He fought smart. He went out there and fought smart, literally. He didn’t take a lot of damage, but he took a little bit of damage. But it’s alright.”
Watch the full Bellator 228 post-fight press conference with A.J. McKee and Derek Campos above!